Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
February 17, 2016 Comments Off on Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel, Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Pope’s efforts to stop church child abuse appear to unravel
Will Carless, GlobalPost February 15, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A member of a commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on child abuse says the group is a “token body” exercising in “smoke and mirrors” that won’t help children stay safe from abusive priests.
Peter Saunders, the commission member, is now on a leave of absence as he considers whether to continue with an effort he says he has lost faith in.
Meanwhile, new Catholic bishops are still being taught they’re not obliged to report cases of child abuse by priests to the police.
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Francis set up with much fanfare in 2014, was supposed to issue guidelines for the Vatican on how to deal with child abuse. But the body was never consulted about the training for new bishops on exactly that topic.
These are just some of the signs that Francis’ reform efforts, and his pledge to clean up the Catholic Church’s most damaging crisis, seem to be unraveling before they’ve even really gotten started.
The problems come as Pope Francis pays a visit to Latin America, a region where, as GlobalPost has reported, the church is accused of reassigning and protecting many alleged predator priests. Among the latest scandals in the region, Chileans are outraged that the pope appointed a bishop accused of shielding the country’s most despised pedophile priest from investigation….
Vatican riven by internal battle over handling of child abuse claims
Rift comes amid signs that special commission created by Pope Francis to handle issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome Tuesday 16 February 2016
A battle is being waged within the Vatican over how senior clergy ought to handle accusations of sexual abuse amid signs that a special commission created by Pope Francis to handle the issue is being sidelined by senior church officials in Rome.
The rift was exposed after a report in the Guardian about a training course that was offered to new bishops last year in which a controversial French monsignor instructed them that it was “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of abuse to law enforcement authorities if local laws did not require it.
That stance was rejected this week by Pope Francis’s point man on abuse issues, Boston cardinal Seán O’Malley, who heads a special pontifical commission to protect minors.
“We, the president and the members of the commission, wish to affirm that our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed, but even beyond these civil requirements, we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society,” he said in a statement on Monday.
O’Malley also said that the special commission was committed to “extensive education efforts” within local churches since its founding two years ago, and that its members had reiterated their “willingness to provide this material at courses offered in Rome”, including at the training courses for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia, or bureaucracy.
But it is clear that these offers have not been accepted….
Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says, Beyond clergy: Ex-Boy Scouts tap Minn. law to press sex abuse claims
February 11, 2016 Comments Off on Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says, Beyond clergy: Ex-Boy Scouts tap Minn. law to press sex abuse claims
Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says
Vatican guide says ‘not necessarily’ bishop’s duty to report suspects to police despite Pope Francis’s vows to redress Catholic church’s legacy of child abuse
Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign over sexual abuse scandals in his Boston archdiocese, where 150 priests were accused of molesting children.
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Wednesday 10 February 2016
The Catholic church is telling newly appointed bishops that it is “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.
A document that spells out how senior clergy members ought to deal with allegations of abuse, which was recently released by the Vatican, emphasised that, though they must be aware of local laws, bishops’ only duty was to address such allegations internally.
According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds, the training document states.
The training guidelines were written by a controversial French monsignor and psychotherapist, Tony Anatrella, who serves as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Vatican released the guidelines – which are part of a broader training programme for newly named bishops at a press conference earlier this month and is now seeking feedback.
Details of the Catholic church’s policy were first reported in a column by a veteran Vatican journalist, John Allen, associate editor of the Catholic news site, Cruxnow.com.
Allen noted that a special commission created by Pope Francis, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, had appeared to play no role in the training programme, even though it is supposed to be developing “best practices” to prevent and deal with clerical abuse.
Indeed, a church official familiar with the commission on abuse said it was the committee’s position that reporting abuse to civil authorities was a “moral obligation, whether the civil law requires it or not”. The official said the committee would be involved in future training efforts….
Beyond clergy: Ex-Boy Scouts tap Minn. law to press sex abuse claims
Todd Melby Feb 10, 2016
Jim McDonough is suing the Boy Scouts of America and its North Star Council claiming he was sexually abused by his scoutmaster….
Many stories like McDonough’s have come to light in the nearly three years since the Legislature passed the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Most have been focused on the hundreds of claims made against priests accused of sexually abusing children.
But the law, which extends the statute of limitations for older abuse claims, wasn’t written to respond exclusively to clergy abuse. And the Catholic Church hasn’t been the only target of lawsuits aimed at shedding light on a hidden past. Boy Scout organizations are also grappling with accusations of child molestation.
McDonough decided to use the law to sue the Boy Scouts of America and one of its local affiliates, the Northern Star Council. At least 16 lawsuits are pending in Minnesota against the Boy Scouts, including McDonough’s civil action. Most target the Northern Star Council. Three other lawsuits list another council as a defendant. At least 12 additional suits are expected to be filed before the law’s May 25 deadline….
McDonough’s suit seeks at least $50,000 from the Scouts. The Northern Star Council, which represent troops in 21 Minnesota counties and four counties in western Wisconsin, declined to talk about abuse suits filed by McDonough and others….
One of McDonough’s lawyers, Peter Janci, won a $19.9 million verdict against the Boy Scouts in 2010 in Portland, Ore. Janci says that when it comes to sexual abuse against children, the Boy Scouts have some things in common with the Roman Catholic Church.
“They both involve organizations that really believe in their mission. At times, that has led to them to make decisions where they put reputation of the organization above safety and health of individuals,” he said.
In the case of the Boy Scouts of America, that included the creation of what it called “ineligible volunteer” files, Janci said. When the Scouts learned that a volunteer had sexually molested or raped a child, it often created a file so it could bar that person from volunteering in another city or state.
Between 1955 and 1984, the Boy Scouts of America created 1,300 of these files. A judge ordered those files released, with some information redacted, after the Portland trial.
A small percentage of the “ineligible volunteer” files were atheists or homosexuals. The Scouts barred gay men and lesbians from the organization until just recently. But the vast majority of files focused on sexual molestation. They became known as the “Perversion Files.”
The Boy Scouts has been keeping secret tabs on suspected abusers since the 1920s, but it didn’t routinely report those people to police. The organization began requiring “mandatory reporting of suspected abuse” in 2011….
Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway, Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley, Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies
May 27, 2014 Comments Off on Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway, Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley, Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies
Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway
Cahir O’Doherty May 26,2014
According to a report in the Irish Mail on Sunday, a mass grave has been located beside a former home for unmarried mothers and babies in County Galway. The grave is believed to contain the bodies of up to eight hundred babies, buried on the former grounds of the institution known locally as “The Home” in Tuam, north of Galway city, between 1925 and 1961
Run by the Bon Secours nuns, “The Home” housed thousands of unmarried mothers and their “illegitimate” children over those years.
According to Irish Mail on Sunday the causes of death listed for “as many as 796 children” included “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.”
The babies were usually buried without a coffin in a plot that had once housed “a water tank,” the report claims. No memorials were erected, the site was left unmarked and unmourned.
The staggering mortality rate of “The Home” was apparently replicated elsewhere in Ireland….
Pope to meet abuse victims with Boston’s O’Malley
By John L. Allen Jr. Globe Staff May 26, 2014
ROME — Pope Francis said Monday that he plans to celebrate a Mass with a small group of victims of sexual abuse in the coming weeks and to hold a private meeting to hear from them, a session in which Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston will also take part.
Francis also revealed that three Catholic bishops are under Vatican investigation for matters related to sexual abuse, citing those inquiries as proof that there will be no “daddy’s boys” in the clergy who enjoy special privileges on his watch.
Francis did not make it clear whether those three bishops are being investigated for abuse they are alleged to have committed or for an alleged failure to respond properly to possible abuse by others….
Re-Watching Woody Allen The newly-chilling themes that you can see throughout his movies By Stephen Marche on February 4, 2014
….Nobody except Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen knows what happened in that attic, and no one else ever will. But the sheer vividness with which Farrow recounts the experience, as well as the forum in which she does so, is enough to make even the most ardent fan reevaluate an artist’s entire body of work, especially one as personal as Allen’s.
So what happens when you go looking for evidence of sex crimes in Woody Allen movies? If you look, you find it, again, and again, and again….
January 19, 2011 Comments Off on Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse
Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse
(AP) 1/18/11 A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims’ groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.
The newly revealed letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.
The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church’s right to handle all child-abuse allegations and determine punishments in house rather than give that power to civil authorities.
Signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the letter instructs Irish bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.”
Storero wrote that canon law, which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church, “must be meticulously followed.” Any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome, he wrote….
To this day, the Vatican has not endorsed any of the Irish church’s three major policy documents since 1996 on safeguarding children from clerical abuse. Irish taxpayers, rather than the church, have paid most of the euro1.5 billion ($2 billion) to more than 14,000 abuse claimants dating back to the 1940s….
Storero warned that bishops who followed the Irish child-protection policy and reported a priest’s suspected crimes to police risked having their in-house punishments of the priest overturned by the Congregation for the Clergy.
The 2009 Dublin Archdiocese report found that this actually happened in the case of Tony Walsh, one of Dublin’s most notorious pedophiles, who used his role as an Elvis impersonator in a popular “All Priests Show” to get closer to kids.
Walsh was kicked out of the priesthood by a secret Dublin church court in 1993 but successfully appealed the punishment to a Vatican court, which reinstated him to the priesthood in 1994. He raped a boy in a pub restroom at his grandfather’s wake that year. Walsh since has received a series of prison sentences, most recently a 12-year term imposed last month. Investigators estimate he raped or molested more than 100 children. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iQmg5wDhFHeRAzpFnG-UvSvb-oZA?docId=b6d56708925949a8a674a8a69d1e30a9
Vatican Warned Bishops Not to Report Child Abuse
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN January 18, 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/world/europe/19vatican.htm